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Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve

I recently discovered the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve near Murrieta, CA and, I have to say, I am extremely excited for all the future photo opps I have to look forward to. The terrain is classic California with rolling hills, meadows and oak trees dotted throughout. I personally love this type of landscape both for hiking and taking pictures. And I can already tell this place will be exploding with wildflowers in the Spring - I can't wait to get out there on a beautiful Spring day with billowing cumulous clouds drifting overhead.

This first picture was taken in January before any major rains hit the area so the terrain was quite dry. Nevertheless, the hike out there was fantastic and the oak trees, lighting and clouds refused to let me leave without taking a picture or two.

The following week, Southern California experienced some of the most severe storms since El NiƱo way back in the 90's. The rainfall was like nothing I've personally ever seen before. It was coming down hard, fast and relentlessly. It caused havoc at my home by choosing to seep under the walls and soak my carpet, but it made for some interesting scenery (and anyone who knows me knows I love inclement weather, so I was happy). The following two pictures were taken during a very small break in the rain. In fact, I was out there with an umbrella over my camera for some of the shots.

This first shot is a natural pool that formed in this meadow. The clouds reflecting off it were begging for a vertical composition.

There was also a creek flowing in between the hills that was quite interesting to me. It was like no creek I'd seen before - obviously a very rare one - because it wasn't in a typical creek bed with rocks and sediment. It was just water flowing through the valleys between these hills, right on top of the grass and finding the path of least resistance. I wouldn't consider it a beautiful creek and I wouldn't even consider the following picture a beautiful picture, but it was just too interesting to not photograph and share.

My time out there in the rain among these beautiful hills and meadows all by myself was beyond words. But as if all the amazing scenery and peaceful solitude wasn't enough, I was lucky enough to spot two coyotes traversing the hills on the other side of the creek. Seeing them in their natural habitat was truly breathtaking.

The craft of photography is always fun, but it's experiences like these why I really go out there and take pictures.

Jan 23 Sunset in Crystal Cove Workshop Results

Well, my January 23rd Sunset in Crystal Cove Workshop was a close one. Southern California was getting pounded with rain like never before the entire week leading up to the workshop and it was looking like I was going to have to cancel. But the forecast stayed solid at partly cloudy and, for once, I put my trust entirely in the weather forecast (and a little bit of my instincts). Luckily, when Saturday rolled around, the weather opened up to a fantastically clear and beautiful day - perfect for taking a little photo trip into Crystal Cove State Park. And to top it off, my students were a blast to teach! Here are my results from the day:

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(The intentional color cast in the second photo was achieved with a false white balance setting.)

Thank you to all my students for attending! I hope to see you again!

Get more information on all of my workshops including Spring Wildflower Workshops at www.NickCarverPhotography.com/workshops!

Jan 10 Sunset in San Onofre Workshop Results

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Had another great workshop at one of my favorite places in So Cal: San Onofre State Park. The beach was empty as usual, the scenery was great and the sunset turned out to be fantastic! It seemed like every color in the rainbow was on display!

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Get more information on all of my workshops including Spring Wildflower Workshops atwww.NickCarverPhotography.com/workshops!